Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov met with his G-8 counterparts on Thursday to discuss Iran’s nuclear program and the situation in Afghanistan.Lavrov's remarks were consistent with statements he issued earlier this month.
“On Iran’s problem, Russia confirmed its commitment to solving the issue by political and diplomatic means. The minister called for continuing efforts to develop a constructive dialog with Iran...,” the Foreign Ministry reported.
“At the same time, the parties stressed the need to respect Iran’s sovereignty and not interfere in its internal affairs,” the ministry added.
From the Wall Street Journal - September 11, 2009:
Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov made it clear that Moscow wouldn't back any new rounds of tough sanctions against Iran in the United Nations Security Council, and he dismissed a U.S. timetable for securing progress from Iran on ending its nuclear-fuel program...China on Thursday also announced it will not support increased sanctions on Iran as a way to curb its nuclear program.
Just a day after U.S. officials warned that Iran may already have enough enriched uranium to make a bomb if processed further, Mr. Lavrov said negotiations should begin without any imposed timetable... "I do not think those sanctions will be approved by the United Nations Security Council," Mr. Lavrov said.
Iran needs "an equal place in this regional dialog," he said. "Iran is a partner that has never harmed Russia in any way."...
Mr. Lavrov [also said] that an expected U.S. move to drop plans to station a missile-defense system in Eastern Europe wouldn't be seen as a concession to Russia; such a move would merely correct a previous U.S. mistake, he said.
“We always believe that sanctions and pressure are not the way out,” said Jiang Yu, a foreign ministry spokeswoman, during a news conference.
Nevertheless, even as Obama's efforts to curtail Iran's nuclear aspirations appear to be heading south, he has managed to make ammends with Russia, Cuba, Venezuela and other UN member states. And, for that alone, he is certain to go down in history as one of the greatest American diplomats of all time....